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Ask E. Jean for DearSugar: How Can I Make him Stop Picking???

Dear E. Jean--
My boyfriend is wonderful, nurturing, fun, and we have common interests which makes everything easy. The problem is (and I’m sorry to be so ill bred as to bring it up) he’s a chronic nose-picker. I’m serious! In bed, while driving, at the club in the middle of conversation, he picks and then flicks. (Again, sorry to be so graphic but I have to explain how bad it is.) I’ve tried offering him a tissue, but he ignores me. The other day his nephew commented on how nasty it was and he’s like ten! I know this is minor on the scale of Men Issues, but it’s such a turn-off! Help! -- UGH!!

To see E. Jean's answer


Congratulations. In shallow, superficial, impression-conscious, status-crazed America, you’ve found the last lamezoid who possesses not a single shred of self-presentation. I’m afraid your elegant “offer” of a tissue is too High Style for the lad. Simply say, “Darling, you look like a moron and it’s not sexy.”

Then, if he does not cease, supply yourself with a stack of Brooks Brothers’ white cotton handkerchiefs (seven for $15). The buggers are a glorious foot-and-a-half square. Then every time the lad even thinks of investigating a nostril, flash-out a handkerchief and flick him in the nose with it. (It works just like a towel, roll the hanky on the diagonal -- prepare one or two ahead of time⎯⎯ and flick.) If you wish to also shout: “Sir! How dare you mine for gold in my presence?” I believe that will do the trick.

To see more advice from E. Jean visit Elle Magazine and

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